Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NBC Cuts 10PM From Primetime and Adds Jay Leno to 10PM; ABC Adds Special Wipeout on Super Bowl Sunday; 2009 WGA Awards Nominees

It is now official...Jay Leno will not move on to ABC and stay with NBC, but with a twist ... in primetime! Jay Leno will host a new comedy/talk show on NBC five nights a week in primetime, beginning in the fall of 2009. The show will originate from Burbank, Calif., and will air Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m./9-10 p.m. CT. This show will be the first-ever entertainment program to be stripped across primetime on broadcast network television.
Leno will sign off as host of The Tonight Show on Friday, May 29, 2009. His new show will showcase many of the features that have made Leno America's late-night leader for more than a dozen years. Signature elements will include his opening monologue and well-known comedy segments "Headlines," "Jaywalking" and "Battle of the Jaywalking All-Stars."
As previously announced, Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show hosting duties on Monday, June 1, 2009, broadcasting from the state-of-the-art studio currently under construction on the Universal lot. O'Brien will continue an unmatched late-night legacy that includes Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and, for the last 16 years, Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon will assume the role of host of Late Night on March 2, 2009.
So what does this all mean? NBC is in terrible shape right now both in the ratings and financially. They have been stuck in 4th place in the ratings for some years now and recently many employees were laid off. With this move, NBC will slice off five-hours from their weeknight schedule and air the cheaper Leno series. The new Leno deal is up to 50 million a year for 5 years, while the show doesn't cost too much to produce so NBC will benefit from a financial aspect in this hour as shows like Law & Order and ER cost a lot to produce. This means many primetime shows on NBC could be cut next fall. Many of them could be veteran series. Nothing has been officially announced as dead yet but series such as Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl, Knight Rider, Life, and Friday Night Lights could be cut, while Chuck, Medium, and the original Law & Order series could go either way. ER is already ending this season, so that will obviously be gone, while Lipstick Jungle is canceled and the cheap Crusoe is also canceled despite low production costs but the ratings were terrible. And if Heroes continues its downward trend, NBC could cut it also as that series costs a lot to make. Law & Order: SVU, The Biggest Loser, The Office, are some of the series likely to remain on NBC.
There is word also that NBC could give Saturday nights back to their affiliates to program. So that would be another three-hours that NBC could lose. As of now, they will only program 17 hours a week, and could be as low as 14 if they lose Saturday. That would be lower than Fox, which has 15.
What do I think? I think this is great for Jay Leno and I am happy for him but what is NBC thinking? I know they have to cut costs and stuff, but there is no way they can expand on finding hits without the 10pm hour. Leno gets 4 million or so in late night and will likely go up a bit in primetime, but every weekday it will get tiresome. Leno will have to face entertainment dramas and not go up against similar late night shows. This also could hurt NBC's other late night shows, as now they will have yet another one. They already have The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Last Call. Four talk shows in one night? You can expect ABC and CBS's 10pm shows to rise next fall without NBC. It is still not known though if NBC will even count Leno's series in their primetime averages. NBC's 10pm shows the last few years have been a bright spot for them with series such as Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Medium, and even ER doing higher ratings than anything from 8-10pm. It is not a guarantee they can just move down an hour and generate the same ratings. Law & Order moved to Wednesdays at 9 a few years ago and got crushed by Criminal Minds on CBS, and was quickly moved back to 10pm. NBC has made some weird moves lately and have already back-fired. Last development season, they eliminated the expensive pilot process, a move that saved money but backfired after all of its fall shows flopped, such as My Worst Own Enemy. They picked-up series without actually seeing a pilot. Also, their "infront" last April was a total bust. They announced line-ups for Fall 2008, Winter/Spring 2009 and Summer 2009 in advance, and ended up changing the schedule around anyway. What is the point to all this NBC? Stick with tradition and get yourself back on track by trying to find quality shows instead of giving up. Just my two cents.

The news gets worse for NBC. ABC has announced it plans to counter program NBC's Super Bowl entertainment telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of the summer obstacle-course megahit Wipeout.
ABC will air a brief football-themed Wipeout special against NBC's official halftime show headlined by Bruce Springsteen. Then, during NBC's post-Super Bowl presentation of The Office," ABC will air an hour-long Wipeout in which cheerleaders compete against male "couch potato" sports fans.
The two-part ABC special, "Wipeout Superball Sunday," pulls out all the stops to cater to NFL fans: Hall of Famer Michael Irving will lend sideline commentary, the Navy's Blue Angels will perform a flyover, the USC marching band will storm the course, contestants will run a gantlet with quarterbacks pelting them with footballs, NFL luminaries will stop by the commentary booth, and the show's signature Big Balls obstacle has been converted into jumbo-sized footballs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The special is one of the most ambitious Super Bowl Sunday programming plans ever mounted by a non-host network. Yet for the reality show's producer, Endemol, it's familiar territory. In 2002, NBC enjoyed some of Fox's big game thunder by airing a special episode of the Endemol-produced Fear Factor featuring Playboy Playmates as contestants against the halftime show. Fear Factor did 11.4 million viewers that night. The family-friendly Wipeout could attract even more.
ABC plans to air repeats of Wipeout against the game directly itself, with AFV encore from 7-8pm ET. The Super Bowl starts at about 6:30, and the halftime show will likely be around 8pm so the Wipeout halftime special will air then, then they will air two Wipeout repeats from about 8:30ish-10:30ish, before the hour Wipeout special at about 10:30 against The Office. Wipeout will return as a series this summer for a second season. Goodnight and big balls!

Finally, we leave you today with the nominations for the 61st Annual WGA Awards. Comedy wise, 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, The Simpsons and Weeds were nominated for their writing work. While Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Lost, Mad Men and The Wire took writing nominations for dramas. Among the other categories, Life on Mars and Breaking Bad were among the nominees for best new series, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone, 30 Rock, and The Office were among the nominees for actual episodic writing.
View the full nominees.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)

The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, April 30

Bob's Burgers - "Like Gene for Chocolate" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Gene learns that the formula for his favorite chocolate has changed, he works with the head of the company in an attempt to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Bob gets wrapped up in one of Teddy’s less-than-perfect plans.

Bob's Burgers - "Thelma & Louise Except Thelma Is Linda" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
After Louise gets in trouble at school, Linda is forced to meet with Mr. Frond (guest voice David Herman) and potentially could lose her hard-earned position as the Wagstaff bake sale leader. When she finds out that her daughter was actually trying to help another student, Linda is torn between following school policy or her own moral code.

The Simpsons - "Looking for Mr. Goodbart" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Bart gets in trouble on Grandparents Day at school and is forced to hang out with Skinner’s mother as punishment. After spending time with various grandmas in the neighborhood, he learns the benefits of hanging out with the elderly, but eventually recognizes the dangers of taking advantage of them. Meanwhile, Peekimon Get has taken over the town of Springfield.

Making History - "Night Cream" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With the ever-present threat of losing tenure looming over him, Chris reaches out to John Hancock and Samuel Adams to help spice things up in the classroom in 2017. Meanwhile, Deb's dream of re-opening Chadwick's ice cream parlor is finally coming to fruition, but Dan has a few marketing ideas of his own.

Family Guy - "The Peter Principal" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Peter becomes the temporary principal at the high school, and Meg uses his new power to get even with her bullies. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie open a bed & breakfast that quickly turns into a brothel.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Big Day" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Tandy and Gail face off in a major disagreement, on which the whole group must weigh in, and Carol is forced to choose a side. Meanwhile, Melissa, Todd and Erica each have major milestone moments.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 1)

Sunday, April 30

  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Catch NeNe on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, May 1
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Al Madrigal (About a Boy/Welcome to the Captain/Gary Unmarried) - Al appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch/Two and a Half Men/That '70s Show) - Ashton appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison teams up with Mario Batali to make a cheesy, decadent Gnocchi Al Telefono and dishes about her new Broadway show on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 11:15am.
  • Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey) - Nick talks about his new film Everything, Everything on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Hollywood Darlings/Fuller House/Full House) - Jodie is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.